Chelsea captain John Terry has piled the pressure on Stamford Bridge chiefs to hand team-mate Frank Lampard a new contract after admitting the prospect of his long-term fellow Blues legend playing for another club next season is too much to bear.
Lampard moved to within three goals of breaking the all-time Chelsea scoring record by firing home his 199th goal for the Blues in Sunday's FA Cup win against Brentford and Terry has suggested his veteran colleague still 'has so much more to offer' as the midfielder plays out the final few weeks of his latest contract.
In comments that are bound to resonate with the Chelsea hierarchy, the influential Terry has claimed 34-year-old Lampard remains the hardest working member of Rafael Benitez's squad.
"He has got so much more to give and he is an inspiration to everyone at the club," Terry said, in comments appearing across a host of British newspapers. "Still, at his age, he is the best trainer by a million miles. He works so hard.
"Kids can look at his goals and think 'he is just in the right position' but believe me, it is a lot of hard work before and after training. You can see he has always been very fit naturally, and that's despite the hard work he puts in before and after training.
"We all hope he's here (next season) but if not, he has certainly got years ahead of him. Although I don't even want to think about that (Lampard playing for another club). I am not even going to entertain that idea."
Meanwhile, Terry has claimed the Chelsea supporters have every right to pass a judgement on interim manager Benitez, even if the negative response he gets from the Stamford Bridge faithful is not helping the atmosphere for home matches.
"They pay their money, so they are entitled to echo their thoughts," added Terry. "All we can do is concentrate on our jobs and that is winning games. If we can do that, it completely takes that pressure away.
"If you are losing games, the pressure is on the manager. He has to take responsibility because he picks the team. So if we are not getting results, naturally it falls on his head unfortunately.
"Let's concentrate on the positive side. We are in the hat for the next round of the FA Cup and when we do play well, we deserve to have credit and respect. When we get knocked out of competitions, we will take it on the chin like men. When we are winning, just ease off a little bit.
"We want to finish as high as possible. Top two would be great and we are in the FA Cup and Europa League to win them. Every year at this football club, we need trophies. Champions League qualification is also a must."